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5 Tips for Standing Desk Noobs

This entry is part 14 of 29 in the series Standing Information Series

Standing desks are awesome. By contrast, a workflow centered around sitting all day is bad for you and for the business that employs you. If you’re reading this blog, though, you don’t need me to convince you of that. You also don’t have to take my word for it and hope I’m telling the truth – everyone from major news outlets to school districts are singing the praises of standing desks as an alternative to the traditional seated way of working. You can totally transform your professional life with a standing desk setup, but only if you handle it correctly. See, it doesn’t matter how many health benefits or productivity gains you’re promised on the news or in the sales material if you get it back to your home or office and find you have no idea what you’re doing or how to use your new tool correctly. Want to get in on the whole standing desk movement but feel like you need a bit of inside knowledge so you won’t be playing perpetual catch up? Just keep reading!

Standing Desk Advice Nugget #1: The Scorched Earth Policy – Just Say No!

scorched-earthWhen people make big changes in their lives, they like to do it in a big way. Maybe it’s just human nature, but it seems to me that the all or nothing approach to life is a large part of why so many people fail at their endeavors. Newsflash: You’re allowed to ease yourself into things! In fact, when it comes to standing desks, easy really does do it, honest! Physicians say that diving from the persistently sedentary lifestyle of the average office worker straight into eight hours a day on your feet can wreak havoc on sensitive joints, ligaments, and tendons, not to mention your resolve and your morale when things start to hurt! So, what’s the solution? Simple. Instead of burning your bridges by charging recklessly into this new lifestyle, make allowances and train yourself! Alternate between sitting and standing, leaving your chair behind for longer and longer periods until you eventually ditch it for good. It might sound like a circuitous route to your goal at first, but when you look back on all you’ve accomplished, you’ll be glad you took the time to do things the right way.

Standing Desk Advice Nugget #2: Check Those Egregious Ergonomics!

egregious-ergonomicsDid you know you can have posture problems as a standing desk user? It’s true! The fact is, if you aren’t careful, the same pain points that plague your seated counterparts will dog you too. Luckily, sprucing up your posture is quick and easy – just take fifteen minutes to tinker with the ergonomics of your desk. Keep your monitor(s) at eye level and your keyboard and other input devices more or less level with the natural crook of your elbows. This is your body’s natural standing profile / posture, and as such, will keep your back straight and your shoulders tension-free. Still having trouble? Don’t worry. You’ve been sitting for ages. Your muscles are probably weak with disuse; focus on proper posture and give your core (the large muscle groups in your back and abdominal areas) time to toughen up!

Check out monitor arms that get your monitors at the right height and free up your desk space.

Standing Desk Advice Nugget #3: Lighten Your Lead Feet!

The third entry on our list is a lot like the second. In fact, they’re related. At one time or another, haven’t we all looked up at the clock only to gasp at how late it’s gotten? The trouble (at least for the purposes of this little blurb) isn’t getting lost in whatever work or play we’re involved in. Rather, it’s what happens when our minds wander. If your mind is far away, are you keeping track of your standing position? Of course not! Just as posture problems will harm your upper body, positional problems will wreck your feet, ankles, legs, knees, and related areas. To correct this mistake, use any one of the huge array of memory techniques, alarm / timer apps, or even a discreet alarm on your cell phone. Anything will do as long as it helps you make a a conscious and consistent effort to move around at least a few times every couple hours. This simple routine will keep your blood flowing and your muscles free of cramps, and you’ll stay more productive and less bored during the course of your workday, too!

Standing Desk Advice Nugget #4: Like, OMG, Accessorize!

Did you read that in a Valley Girl accent? I hope so, ’cause that’s how I typed it. Seriously, though, did you know that there are a ton of dedicated standing desk accessories on the market these days? Some of them are better than others, and you’ll want to watch what you bring in if you aren’t working from home. Still, thanks to all the mats and treadmills and whatnot currently up for grabs, you can turn your standing desk into quite the relaxing environment for very little money. You can even craft a sweet mini-gym if you’re feeling creative! The best part is, most of these peripherals are designed to be easily put away after you’re done with them. Bust out a few reps on a specially-designed treadmill or spin bike, stow it, then use a cushioned foot pad – a must-have for any standing desk user! – to get your work done for the day. Now that’s what I call working smart instead of hard!

Standing Desk Advice Nugget #5: Cash + Common Sense = Success!

See that heading? It’s a simple equation, but so many people leave out the common sense element. They then wonder why their bank balances are in such disarray. It’s actually quite interesting to look at how similarly standing desks and computers, cars, and other such tools are viewed by the pubic. Some users, valuing utility above all, will actually build their own standing desks to save money (and presumably because they get some enjoyment from the experience). Others take the Apple approach: Does it work? Is it shiny? Good! Who cares what it costs – give me two of them ASAP!. Unless you love working with your hands or have very deep pockets – and more power to you in either case – you’ll want to pay close attention to what I have to say next. Ready? OK, here it is: It’s possible to find a middle path in the world of standing desks. You don’t have to break the bank in pursuit of a $3,000 USD standing desk, but you also don’t have to scavenge parts from IKEA to make one on a budget. Affordable, professionally built standing desks are all over the place if you know where to look. Here are a few to get you started.

Conclusion

Standing desks are a great thing, and the community that’s being built up around them is even cooler. Hopefully you feel a bit more confident in your footing re: this whole scene than you did before you stumbled onto this post. Thanks for reading!

One Comment

  • John Mahoney says:

    I liked when you talked about the importance of paying attention to your posture when working with a standing desk. It makes sense that doing this can help you get the best experience and avoid hurting when using one of these. I would want to make sure I take my time to do my homework and find a reputable store to buy from in order to get the best quality available.

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